Sophisticated NYC fusion duo Star Rover present ‘Ghosts of New York State’, first taster of their new LP
NYC collectiveStar Rover has announced they will release their self-titled album‘Star Rover’ this autumn, a coalescence of the ideas they had been investigating over the years into a cohesive yet eclectic statement. Here they meld the improvisational energy of their live sets with the depth and fidelity of the studio to create something dynamic, aggressive, nostalgic and beautiful all at once.
Ahead of the album, the duo presents the lead track ‘Ghosts of New York State’, teasing this series of lyrically whimsical tales – half dreamscape, half reality. The clever animated video was directed by Clara Trevisan.
With the unforeseen break in performances caused by the pandemic, Star Rover had the opportunity to work on their music without time constraints. They called on frequent collaborator and Grammy award-winning songwriter Jesse Harris to help them produce a new record at his Long Island studio, a fruitful exercise of telepathic communication in spirited live takes, using those as springboards for sonic experimentation.
“The seed of ‘Ghosts of New York State’ began with the fingerpicked riff, which alternates between 6/4 and 7/4 meters throughout. We wanted this song to communicate the numb and dislocated feeling of the words while maintaining a propulsive groove and nervous energy. The burst of color in the middle represents a kind of blinding epiphany. This song is about family and the weight we carry, sometimes unknowingly and unconsciously. The end mantra is ” The ghost, the host. The ghost, my host,” says Will Graefe.
Working with engineerVira Byramji, they let the environmental sounds inspire the material. In several songs, one can hear the buzz of insects and crashing waves in the distance, in addition to two musicians playing in a woody beach house room. No headphones, just the room.
When Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin began playing music together at Gustin’s Bushwick loft in 2011, little did they know that they would form a bond during those early sessions over their shared love of John Fahey, as well as the spiky post rock of Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt. Later that year, they recorded their first record ‘Western Winds Bitter Christians’, a short lo-fi collection of grungy Fahey covers and distorted originals. Besides touring throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, they have both become in demand session and touring artists, working with the likes of David Byrne, Kimbra, Bill Frissel, Okkervil River, Sam Amidon, Marc Ribot, Delicate Steve and Nels Cline, among others.
At times in between touring and recording work with other artists, their collaborative writing began to develop into a sort of futuristic post rock that was always connected to the directness of folk melodies. This new direction led to their 2018 sophomore album‘I May Be Lost But I’m Laughing’, a more produced effort featuring contributions from artists such as Sam Evian, Shahzad Ismailly, Rob Moose (yMusic), Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear), and Sarah K Pedinotti.
The next year, Star Rover collaborated with Brazilian musician (and frequent Caetano Veloso collaborator) Ricardo Dias Gomes. They wrote and recorded ‘This Whole Emptiness’ album in Lisbon at the studio of Marcelo Camelo.
As of August 31, ‘Ghosts of New York State’ will be available across digital platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. The ‘Star Rover’ LP will released on October 15 and can already be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.
Written by Jeremy Gustin (Peppermintolive Publishing) and Will Graefe (Gravymusic Publishing)
Will Graefe – Guitars, vocals, bass, programming, Casio
Jeremy Gustin – Drums, percussion, vocals, programming, Op-1
Jesse Harris – Bass, Casio
Shahzad Ismaily – Bass, Moog
Produced by Star Rover and Jesse Harris
Recorded at Secret Sun East
Engineered by Vira Byramji
Mixed by ze’ Nando Pimenta
Mastered by Michal Kupicz
Video created / directed by Clara Trevisan
FOR FANS OF: Deerhoof, Tortoise, Bill Laswell, Michael Brook, Lightning Bolt, Low, Durutti Column, Arto Lindsay, Thurston Moore, John Fahey, The Sea and Cake
Photos by Maryam Turkey
Brighton’s The Academy of Sun release 7″ via Graham Duff’s new Heaven’s Lathe label
The Academy of Sun
It Is Finished When It’s Destroyed / Ghost Foxes Heaven’s
Lathe (streaming as of Aug. 30) 2 July 2021
“The Academy Of Sun are some of the most exciting musicians currently operating in the UK…. fantastically dedicated, prolific and talented… currently at the height of his creativity” – Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai
FOR FANS OF: Suede, Pulp, Julian Cope, Edwyn Collins, The Stranglers, Kayo Dot, Coil, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Photos by Carisa Bianca Mellado
“Nick Hudson…channeling Coil, goes the full Scott Walker” – MOJO Magazine
”A song-suite of liberation, violence and ambition that is rich in promise and dizzying in its potential” – The Quietus
“One of the more intriguing bands out of Brighton… clever, beautiful, ambitious and expansive. Brilliance from the first to final second” – Louder Than War
Following on from the ambitious 2020 album ‘The Quiet Earth’ by Brighton-based The Academy of Sun, Britain’s Heaven’s Lathelabel has released two new songs from this ‘queer, gnostic, orchestral post-punk’ duo and they have never sounded so glorious.
Curated by writer, broadcaster and DJ Graham Duff and made byBladud Flies!, Heaven’s Lathe is dedicated to bringing out the highest quality 7″ singles, releasing one each month, limited to a 100 copies, which comes on lathe-cut vinyl with engraved centres. As well as containing thrilling music, these are beautiful artefacts in their own right.
The Academy of Sun’s music is centred on the rich vocals and nuanced song-writing of Nick Hudson, whose work has been described by no lesser authority than Julian Cope as “Bill Nelson singing Scott’s ‘Angels Of Ashes’… highly fucking beautiful in a gazing together into Biba mirrors with smeared lippy kind of manner.”
A-side ‘It Is Finished When It’s Destroyed’ is a work in two movements. With squalls of feedback and a twisting bass line, the song opens with a sense of bruised optimism. The second section sees Hudson’s keening vocal riding over a battery of floor toms and fizzing synths. Mixed by acclaimed US producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Danny Elfman, Earth, Mandy OST), this song bristles with detail and is truly cinematic in its sweep.
Flip side ‘Ghost Foxes’ is built around a constantly shuffling drum pattern and sharp slivers of staccato guitar. This is The Academy of Sun as questing rock band, with a sound suggestive of early Bad Seeds. Here, as in all their best work, the group strike a perfect balance between the cerebral and the primal.
“The first The Academy Of Sun track I’ve written since finishing writing ‘The Quiet Earth’ in 2018, this is an aquaplaning freight train of psychedelia and snarl – with the second part endlessly modulating over a skittery, syncopated drum pattern and Mariana Trench-plumbing synths. Whether it is lyrically directed at the heinous cabal of xenophobic disaster capitalists currently holed up in UK parliament remains to be seen (it is),” says Nick Hudson.
“‘Ghost Foxes’ was written for ‘The Quiet Earth’, but never felt “right” until we were asked to create this release. A satire on esotericism, boasting yet another Herzog quote and some mesmerizing guitar tones from our plank-wielder, Guy Brice, ‘Ghost Foxes’ was always riotous to play live, and will be again.”
Formed ten years ago in Brighton, UK, The Academy of Sun is a psychedelic post-punk quartet of Nick Hudson (piano, synths, Hammond organ, harmonium, vocals, percussion, synths) and Kianna Blue (bass, synths), Guy Brice (guitars) and Ash Babb (drums).
Nick Hudson’s musical juggernaut has been active since 2012, always transcending expectations. The Academy of Sun has collaborated with Massive Attack’s Shara Nelson, Matthew Seligman (Bowie, Tori Amos, Morrissey), Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Canadian queercore icon GB Jones, members of NYC’s Kayo Dot and David Tibet (Current 93). TAOS has also performed / toured with Mogwai, Toby Driver and Keith Abrams (Kayo Dot) and Timba Harris (Mr Bungle, Amanda Palmer).
The new 7″ is available on lathe-cut vinyl via Bandcamp. This black hand-numbered high quality stereo vinyl features an engraved Heaven’s Lathe logo, 230gsm sleeve, black inner sleeve and PVC protective sleeve. Packaged with a white polylined paper inner sleeve and a ‘lathe cut’ care card, it also includes the digital download. As standalone digital release is planned later this year.
Written by Nick Hudson, arranged by The Academy Of Sun:
Nick Hudson, Guy Brice, Kianna Blue, Ash Babb
Vocals & synths recorded by Nick Hudson at The Lament Configuration.
Bass recorded by Kianna Blue at Alfie Towers.
A side guitars/drums recorded by Joseph Thorpe at Brighton Electric.
B side drums recorded by Paul Pascoe at Church Road Studios, Hove.
A side mixed by Randall Dunn at Circular Ruin Studios NYC.
B side mixed by Paul Pascoe at Church Road Studios Hove.
Mastered by Randall Dunn at Circular Ruin Studios NYC.
Artwork & layout by Ash Babb, Cover painting by Nick Hudson.
All lathe cutting and engineering is by Michael Lawrence.
Design by Lauren Winton (Bladud Flies!)